Workers with the Hay River Health and Social Services Authority may be about to go on strike.
Strike votes took place over October 12th to the 14th, and the Union of Northern Worker’s Bargaining Team is still trying to get back to the mediation table. However, if the employer declines to respond to the Union’s last proposal package with a better offer, notice to strike may be filed 72 hours in advance and within the next 60 days.
A lockout by the employer is still possible at this time.
In a statement, UNW President Gayla Thunstrom said that after the difficult summer the workers have experienced, “the fact that they once again came out to support their bargaining team with a strong strike mandate should send a message to this employer that they need to do better – they need to negotiate a deal that values and respects their workers. The bargaining team is fighting for a deal that puts Hay River HSSA on a level playing field for recruitment and retention as the rest of the NWT. This benefits the Employer as well; I don’t understand why they don’t see their workers as deserving equal treatment with all other NWT healthcare workers.”
As far as how a strike or lockout would affect healthcare services in Hay River, Thunstrom says that will depend on decisions made by the bargaining and mobilization teams. “Hay River residents will of course continue to receive essential medical care,” said Thunstrom, “but they should expect to see a reduction in some healthcare services for the duration.”